Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its second week Thursday as fighting continues across the smaller country.
There were conflicting reports about which side controls the city of Kherson. Ukrainians still control capital Kyiv despite Russian efforts to overtake the city. Port city Maripol and Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city, experienced heavy shelling Wednesday.
Specific accounts of military activity are difficult to confirm as the situation on the ground in Ukraine can change quickly.
U.S. energy secretary says Ukrainian nuclear power plant reactors 'being safely shut down'
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said she has spoken to Ukraine's energy minister about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and has decided to activate the U.S. Nuclear Incident Response Team.
"Russian military operations near the plant are reckless and must cease," added Granholm in a tweet.
"The plant's reactors are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down."
Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it has spoken with Ukrainian leadership, and has been told that "essential" equipment at the plant is still functioning.
"Ukraine tells IAEA that fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected essential' equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions," the agency posted on Twitter.
— Sumathi Bala
UK's Johnson speaks with Zelenskyy, calls for UN Security Council meeting
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Friday on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
"Both leaders agreed that Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant," according to a readout provided by 10 Downing Street.
"The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe," the readout added.
Johnson also told Zelenskyy that he would seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter.
— Amanda Macias
Ukrainian officials say situation at nuclear power plant is secure
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine said Friday that following an attack by Russian forces on Europe's largest nuclear power plant, the facility is currently secure.
The emergency service said that there was a fire behind the nuclear power plant in an area that is used for training. The service said that initially, firefighters were unable to extinguish the fire due to the ongoing armed conflict.
The director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant said in a statement posted Friday on Facebook that at the moment the plant is secure.
— Amanda Macias
Google pauses ads in Russia
Google says it is pausing all ads in Russia, effective immediately.
"In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we're pausing Google ads in Russia," a company spokesperson said in an email response to CNBC on Thursday evening. "The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate."
The pause includes ads in Search, YouTube, and Display, the company added.
The widespread Google ad pause comes after the company only previously blocked ads that "sought to take advantage of the situation" as categorized under its "Sensitive Events" policy. It also comes after the company this week said it would ban Russian state-funded publisher sites, ads, apps, and YouTube channels from its various platforms.
— Jennifer Elias
Biden speaks with Zelenskyy as Russian forces attack Europe's largest nuclear plant
President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday evening amid reports that Europe's largest nuclear plant was under siege by Russian forces.
"President Biden joined President Zelenskyy in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site," the White House said in a readout of the call.
Biden also spoke with the under secretary for nuclear security of the U.S. Department of Energy and the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration to receive an update on the situation at the plant.
The White House said that Biden will continue to receive regular briefings on the matter.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, was on fire and warned that "if it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl!"
The last known call between Biden and Zelenskyy was on Tuesday, before that the two leaders spoke on Feb. 25.
– Amanda Macias
Smoke visible from Europe’s largest nuclear plant
Ukrainian government officials said smoke was visible from Europe's largest nuclear plant as Russia attacked the city of Enerhodar.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was on fire early on Friday after an attack by Russian troops, the mayor of the nearby town of Energodar said.
Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, "Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!"
Stock futures turned negative following the reports.
"We demand that they stop the heavy weapons fire," Andriy Tuz, spokesperson for the plant in Enerhodar, said in a video posted on Telegram. "There is a real threat of nuclear danger in the biggest atomic energy station in Europe."
The International Atomic Energy Agency tweeted out a statement, saying, "IAEA is aware of reports of shelling at #Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), in contact with Ukrainian authorities about situation."
The IAEA later tweeted that there was no increase in radiation levels, according to information provided by an Ukrainian regulator. According to an official Facebook post by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, there was a fire "behind the territory of the nuclear power plant in the training compound" and "the fire-proof state at the NPP is normal."
"While the battle was going on, the fire fighters were not allowed to get to the fire to extinguish it. Rescuers are on standby,' the post said.
A live-streamed security camera linked from the homepage of the nuclear power plant showed what appeared to be armored vehicles rolling into the facility's parking lot and shining spotlights on the building where the camera was mounted. There are then what appear to be bright muzzle flashes from vehicles and then nearly simultaneous explosions in the surrounding buildings. Smoke then rises and drifts across the frame.
There has been fierce fighting between local forces and Russian troops, the mayor of Energodar, Dmytro Orlov, said in an online post, adding that there had been casualties without giving details.
Earlier, Ukrainian authorities reported Russian troops were stepping up efforts to seize the plant and had entered the town with tanks.
"As a result of continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire," Orlov said on his Telegram channel, citing what he called a threat to world security. He did not give derails.
Reuters could not immediately verify the information.
Video showed flames and black smoke rising above the city of more than 50,000, with people streaming past wrecked cars, just a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency expressed grave concern that the fighting could cause accidental damage to Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors.
— Reuters and The Associated Press
Ukraine has raised more than $54 million in crypto currency donations
Donations in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum are pouring into Ukraine as the war with Russia enters its second week.
Since Moscow invaded on Feb. 24, more than 102,000 cryptoasset donations, totaling $54.7 million, have gone to the Ukrainian government and Come Back Alive, an NGO providing support to the military, according to new data from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The funds includes a single donation of $5.8 million from Gavin Wood, the founder of a lesser-known cryptocurrency called polkadot.
Donations have picked up this week, with around 72,000 of these donations coming in the past two days. Thus far, the contributions consist of $18.2 million in ether, $17.2 million in bitcoin and $9.5 million in a mix of U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins, including an anonymous donation of $1 million in tether, a controversial token designed to be pegged to the U.S. dollar.
— Mackenzie Sigalos
Tracking Russian military movements in Ukraine
Biden offers humanitarian relief to Ukrainians in the U.S.
The Biden administration offered humanitarian relief to Ukrainians in the United States on Thursday, which could protect thousands from being deported to their war-torn homeland.
Ukrainians can remain in the country for up to 18 months under the federal program known as Temporary Protected Status. In order to be eligible for the protection, individuals would have to have been in the U.S. since at least Tuesday.
The administration said the decision was made because of the Russian invasion into Ukraine, which marks the largest conventional military action in Europe since World War II. The invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis that has caused more than 1 million people to flee.
— Associated Press
Large shipment of WHO medical supplies bound for Ukraine arrives in Poland
A 36-ton shipment of medical supplies from the World Health Organization landed in Warsaw, Poland, for delivery to Ukraine, with more en route from a warehouse in Dubai.
The shipment includes trauma supplies for 1,000 patients who need surgical care, and other medical supplies to help 150,000 people, according to the WHO.
The WHO has called for a safe humanitarian corridor in Ukraine to deliver critical medical supplies, as the country faces shortages of oxygen, cancer medicine and insulin, among other supplies, as a result of Russia's invasion.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus condemned attacks on health facilities in Ukraine on Wednesday.
However, WHO officials declined to name Russia as the aggressor when asked.
-- Spencer Kimball
Russia, Ukraine signal potential for agreement on safe routes to evacuate civilians
Talks between Russia and Ukraine have yielded some common ground on the need for "humanitarian corridors," possibly protected by ceasefire agreements, for civilians fleeing dangerous areas in Ukraine, representatives for both countries said.
A Ukrainian negotiator said that the two sides had reached an understanding on civilian evacuations, though the talks have yet to yield the results Kyiv wants, multiple outlets reported.
"The Ministries of Defense of Russia and Ukraine have agreed on the format of maintaining humanitarian corridors for the exit of the population, and on the possible temporary ceasefire in the humanitarian corridor area for the period of the release of the civilian population," said chief Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky.
"I think this is a significant progress," Medinsky said.
As the invasion enters its eighth day, Russia's attacks have intensified in major Ukrainian cities. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier Thursday claimed his military has provided civilian corridors "in all areas without exception," and also asserted that Russian military operations are being carried "in strict accordance with the plan."
— Kevin Breuninger
Elon Musk warns Starlink broadband in Ukraine could be targeted by Russia
SpaceX chief Elon Musk warned that there is a high chance that its Starlink satellite broadband service could be "targeted" in Ukraine, which has been hit by Russian invasion.
"Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution," Musk tweeted.
Ukraine on Monday said it had received donated Starlink satellite internet terminals from Elon Musk's SpaceX, but an internet security researcher warned these could become Russian targets."
Russian economy to shrink 35% in second quarter due Ukraine sanctions
JPMorgan said Thursday that it expects Russia's economy will come to a virtual halt due to global sanctions against the country for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Wall Street firm expects Russia's gross domestic product to contract by 35% in the second quarter of 2022 and 7% for the full year, a dramatic slowdown comparable to the financial crises of 1998 and 2008.
"Sanctions and decisions of foreign businesses to pause or halt Russia operations have led to a stall in international trade, reduced output, and supply-chain disruptions," JPMorgan strategist Anatoliy Shal wrote in a note to clients entitled "Russia: A sudden stop."
"The shock implies a lower potential output, which will be accompanied with a spike in prices — A credit crunch will add to pain, although there are signs that the run on banks is easing," Shal added.
— Yun Li
State Department imposes visa restrictions on 19 Russian oligarchs and their family members
The Biden administration announced new visa restrictions on certain Russian oligarchs, their family members and close associates, another step aimed at punishing allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin for waging a war in Ukraine.
"These oligarchs are known to direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out malign activities in support of Russia's destabilizing foreign policy," the White House said in a statement on the measure.
Under this new policy, the State Department placed visa restrictions on 19 oligarchs and 47 family members.
– Amanda Macias
Workers in Kyiv and Lviv construct anti-tank barriers
Workers in Kyiv and Lviv scramble to build anti-tank barriers as Russian troops close in.
U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and their families
The Biden administration issued another round of sanctions against more Russian elites including Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
"The United States and governments all over the world will work to identify and freeze the assets Russian elites and their family members hold in our respective jurisdictions – their yachts, luxury apartments, money, and other ill-gotten gains," the White House wrote in a statement.
A day earlier, the U.S. said it was launching Task Force KleptoCapture, a new unit aimed at enforcing sweeping sanctions imposed on Russian officials for Putin's unprovoked war in Ukraine.
– Amanda Macias
India evacuates students that fled Ukraine to Hungary
India's air force brings back students from Hungary who were stuck in Ukraine during the ongoing war with Russia.
Russians launch more than 480 missiles into Ukraine thus far
A U.S. Department of Defense official said Thursday that Russian forces have launched more than 480 missiles "of all sizes and stripes," into Ukraine since the war began eight days ago.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says the majority of the missiles are being fired from mobile systems inside of Ukraine.
The person said that more than160 missiles have been fired from Russian soil, about 70 missiles were fired from Belarussian soil and less than 10 missiles have been fired from naval platforms in the Black Sea.
– Amanda Macias
Russian billionaires lose $80 billion in wealth
Russia's top billionaires have lost over $80 billion in wealth in recent weeks, with more to come as sanctions and seizures start to bite.
The economic turmoil surrounding President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has erased about a third of the wealth of Russia's 20 richest billionaires in recent weeks, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Two megayachts have already been seized over the past day — Alisher Usmanov's 500-foot "Dilbar" and Igor Sechin's 280-foot "Amore Velo." UK ministers are calling for the seizure of Russian properties in the U.K. and a new global task force has been created to hunt down and seize assets of Russian's under sanction.
— Robert Frank
About 90% of Russian troops once on Ukraine's border are fighting in the country
The Pentagon estimates that about 90% of Russian forces that were once stationed along Ukraine's border are now fighting in the country.
A senior U.S. Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, declined to comment on the rest of Russia's force posture that has yet to join the fight in Ukraine. The official cautions that while Russian forces appear to be "largely stalled" in some areas, they are still making progress elsewhere.
The official says that Russian forces are approximately 16 miles north of Kyiv and that U.S. officials think the Kremlin intends to encircle the Ukrainian capital.
– Amanda Macias
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calls for more military aid
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the West to increase military aid to Ukraine, saying Russia would advance on the rest of Europe otherwise.
"If you do not have the power to close the skies, then give me planes!" he said during a press conference in Kyiv.
Additional U.S. sanctions expected against more Russian oligarchs and their families
The U.S. today is expected to roll out new sanctions against an expanded list of Russian oligarchs and their families, NBC News reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
President Joe Biden had signaled during his State of the Union address on Tuesday that more sanctions were forthcoming.
"We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts your luxury apartments your private jets," Biden said. "We are coming for your ill-begotten gains."
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice unveiled a new task force, dubbed "KleptoCapture," to target Russian oligarchs' crimes.
— Kevin Breuninger
Berliners offer accommodation to arriving refugees
Berliners offer accommodation for refugees who arrive at Berlin's central train station.
White House asks Congress for additional $10 billion to support Ukraine
The White House asked Congress to immediately allocate $10 billion in emergency funding to support Ukraine as it tries to repel a Russian invasion.
The Office of Management and Budget in letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats also asked for $22.5 billion to keep up the Biden administration's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
OMB acting Director Shalanda Young's letters to Pelosi and other top Democrats noted that even more money for Ukraine and Covid will likely be needed down the road.
— Kevin Breuninger
Former Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says U.S. should impose maximum sanctions on Russian oil
Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that he thinks the U.S. should toughen its sanctions on Russia by slapping maximum penalties on the country's energy sector.
Mnuchin, who spoke with "Squawk Box," said the current sanctions imposed by the Treasury and Commerce Departments against Moscow leave "carve-outs" for oil and gas.
"I would immediately cease any payments in the energy markets," he said. "I've always said sanctions are very powerful tools, and like other powerful tools, the U.S. has a responsibility to use them carefully."
"I think we're not at a point where this is a cost-benefit analysis," he added. "This is a huge human tragedy – civilians are being killed. And we can't worry about what the economic costs are on oil prices."
— Thomas Franck
U.N. warns millions in Ukraine face ‘mortal danger’ as more than 200 civilian deaths reported
The U.N.'s Human Rights Office had received reports of 752 civilian casualties in Ukraine by Tuesday night, the organization's Human Rights Commissioner said Thursday.
Speaking at a session of the U.N.'s 49th Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet said that 227 people, including 15 children, had been killed in the conflict between Feb. 24 and Tuesday night.
Of the 525 injuries reported to the U.N. in the same period, 28 were children.
"I must emphasize that the real figures will be far higher, since numerous other casualties are pending confirmation, and information from some areas engaged in intense hostilities has been delayed," Bachelet told the council.
"Tens of millions of people remain in the country, in potentially mortal danger. I am deeply concerned that the current escalation of military operations will further heighten the harm they face."
— Chloe Taylor
Russia will achieve goals in Ukraine in any case, Putin tells Macron
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that Russia's goals in Ukraine will be achieved in any case, Reuters reported.
Those goals are, according to Moscow, the demilitarization and neutralization of Ukraine.
Putin also told Macron that if Kyiv attempted to delay negotiations, the Kremlin would add to its list of demands, according to the news agency.
— Chloe Taylor
Kherson resident shares insight into life inside key Ukrainian city
Zainish Hussain, a resident of Kherson — a port city in southern Ukraine where it is unclear if Russian forces have taken control — has posted video and photo updates on Twitter giving an insight into the state of the city.
"I'm still alive, in good spirits [and] planning to leave," Hussain said in the footage.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukrainian delegation heads to talks with Russia
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the Ukrainian presidential office and part of the Ukrainian delegation taking part in negotiations with Russia, shared a photograph of himself on the way to the second round of talks on Thursday.
Talks are being held between officials from both countries in the Brest region of Belarus.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukraine’s central bank keeps interest rates unchanged
The National Bank of Ukraine said Thursday that it was postponing its rate policy decision, keeping its key interest rate at 10% for the time being.
The central bank said that while it remained committed to its inflation targeting regime, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, "market-based monetary instruments such as the key policy rate no longer play a significant role in the operation of the monetary and FX markets."
"When economic conditions go back to normal, the NBU will resume its regular board meetings on monetary issues and continue to make key policy rate decisions and publish the Inflation Report and macroeconomic forecasts," it said in a statement.
"The NBU will use the key policy rate and other monetary instruments to control inflation expectations and pursue the inflation target when monetary transmission channels go back into operation and it becomes possible to calculate, with reasonable probability, the impact of monetary decisions over the policy horizon."
The bank added that once Ukraine is "freed from Russian invaders and the economy is back to operating on market-driven principles," it would return to its traditional inflation-targeting strategies.
— Chloe Taylor
Biden to discuss Ukraine with leaders of Australia, India and Japan
President Joe Biden will hold a video call with leaders of the so-called 'Quad' — an alliance comprised of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan — on Thursday morning.
The White House said the call, scheduled for 9 a.m. ET, would be used to discuss the war in Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific region.
Biden will also be holding a Cabinet meeting later on Thursday, with Vice President Kamala Harris in attendance.
— Chloe Taylor
Fate of Kherson unclear amid reports of fall to Russia
The status of Kherson, a key port city in southern Ukraine, is unclear amid some reports that it has been captured by Russian forces.
CNBC has not been able to independently verify these reports.
Hennadiy Lahuta, head of the Kherson Regional Council, said in a statement on Facebook Thursday that Russian troops "completely occupied the building of the Kherson Regional State Administration," according to an NBC News translation.
"The regional operational headquarters continues to work and address pressing issues to help residents of the region. We are waiting for humanitarian aid," he said. "Please do not believe in [disinformation] and do not panic. We work in accordance with the regulations of the operational headquarters."
His comments came after Igor Kolykhayev, Kherson's mayor, said in a statement on Facebook late Wednesday that Russian troops had entered the council building and were on the city's streets.
"There were armed visitors in the city executive committee today," he said "I didn't make any promises to them ... I just asked them not to shoot people."
Kolykhaiev also instructed residents of Kherson not to travel on foot in groups of more than two people, and said a strict curfew had been imposed between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., with only cars transporting vital supplies permitted to enter the city.
"So far this is how it is. Ukrainian flag above us," he said. "And to keep it the same, these requirements must be met."
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has a monitoring team in Kherson, said it continued to hear multiple explosions and machine gun fire in and around the city on Wednesday.
If Russian forces have overtaken Kherson, it would be the first major city in Ukraine to fall to Moscow.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukraine-Russia talks set to continue
Talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia are set to continue on Thursday, and are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Moscow time.
Officials will meet in the Brest region of Belarus, Vladimir Medinsky, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and head of the Russian delegation, told reporters.
Medinsky said Moscow had "a block of proposals in three parts," according to NBC News. "They concern the military-technical aspect, humanitarian-international and political."
The first round of talks was held near Ukraine's border with Belarus on Monday.
— Chloe Taylor
Zelenskyy says 16,000 foreigners have volunteered to fight for Ukraine
In a video speech posted on social media Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 16,000 foreign volunteers had traveled to Ukraine to fight alongside its forces.
He added that Ukraine was receiving "more and more powerful weapons" every day from its international partners.
"We will restore every house, every street, every city and we say to Russia: learn the word 'reparations' and 'contributions,'" Zelenskyy said, according to an NBC News translation. "You will reimburse everything, everything you did against our country, against every Ukrainian — fully."
Switching from Ukrainian to Russian, Zelenskyy went on to address Russian troops, telling them to "go home."
"We don't have a huge territory from ocean to ocean, we don't have nuclear weapons," he said. "We are not filling the world market with oil and gas. But we have our people, we have our land and for us this is gold, and this is what we are fighting for. We have nothing to lose but our own freedom … For us, this is the greatest treasure."
— Chloe Taylor
1 million people have fled Ukraine in a week, UN says
The U.N. has said 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in a week.
"In just seven days, 1 million people have fled Ukraine — uprooted by this senseless war," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a video statement on Thursday.
I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one. Hour by hour, minute by minute, more people are fleeing the terrifying reality of violence. Countless have been displaced inside the country, and unless there is an immediate end to the conflict, millions more are likely to be forced to flee Ukraine."
Grandi praised the response from governments in receiving refugees from Ukraine as "remarkable."
"But nothing – nothing – can replace the need for the guns to be silenced; for dialogue and diplomacy to succeed," he said. "Peace is the only way to halt this tragedy."
— Chloe Taylor
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense gives update on Russian attack
Russian forces shelled residential areas of large cities in Ukraine overnight, according to the Ukrainian government.
Ukraine's Ministry of Defense said in an update on Thursday that as of 6 a.m. local time, Russian forces were continuing to attack from multiple directions and were still attempting to reach the northern outskirts of Kyiv.
Russian military units were concentrated in Baryshevka, Nova Basan, and Lyubech, the ministry said. All three areas are close to the capital, with Baryshevka lying east of the capital within the wider Kyiv region.
Attacks were also continuing in various other cities and regions, the Ministry of Defense added, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Okhtyrka, and naval forces were continuing to "fire on civilian ships and capture sailors."
Officials added that Russian forces had failed to capture the city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.
The details of specific Russian attacks given in the update on Thursday morning could not be independently verified by CNBC.
— Chloe Taylor
Lavrov says Moscow will continue military operation in Ukraine ‘until the end’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Moscow will continue its military operation in Ukraine "until the end," Reuters reported.
"I assure you that we will not allow any kind of provocation to unbalance us," Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state-controlled television Thursday.
Lavrov also said Russia had no thoughts of nuclear war, according to Reuters, and confirmed that a fresh round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations was about to begin.
— Chloe Taylor
Fortum stopping all new investments in Russia
Fortum CEO Markus Rauramo told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday that against the backdrop of the situation in Ukraine, "business cannot continue as usual."
The Finnish state-owned energy company operates 12 power plants in Russia.
"We have stopped all new investments in Russia until further notice, and we will also to continue to reduce our thermal exposure in Russia," he said.
Together with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline — which had its approval revoked by Germany as part of sanctions against Russia — Fortum's assets in Russia produced around 20% of its comparable operating profit last year, Rauramo added.
— Chloe Taylor
Athletes from Russia and Belarus banned from Paralympic Winter Games
Russia and Belarus will not be permitted to send athletes to compete in this year's Paralympic Games in Beijing.
The International Paralympic Committee said in a statement Thursday that multiple teams and athletes were threatening not to compete if the two countries were present, "jeopardizing the viability of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games."
"[The] situation in the athlete villages is escalating and ensuring the safety of athletes has become untenable," the IPC added.
The Paralympic Winter Games are set to go ahead in Beijing from March 4 to March 13.
— Chloe Taylor
International Criminal Court to investigate alleged Russian war crimes
The International Criminal Court will open an investigation into alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine after 39 countries submitted referrals to prosecutor Karim Khan.
In a statement late on Wednesday evening, Khan said the referrals has enabled his office to proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine from Nov. 2013 onward.
This would encompass any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed "on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person," he said.
In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a peninsula in Ukraine's south. Meanwhile, the east of Ukraine had been the scene of low-level fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces for eight years until Russia's renewed invasion on Feb. 24.
Khan reiterated on Wednesday that his office, in a preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine, "a reasonable basis to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court had been committed."
"With an active investigation now underway, I repeat my call to all those engaged in hostilities in Ukraine to adhere strictly to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law," he said. "No individual in the Ukraine situation has a license to commit crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court."
The countries that submitted referrals to the ICC included the U.K., France, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Latvia.
— Chloe Taylor
Almost 600,000 people have fled to Poland from Ukraine
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, around 575,000 people have crossed the border into Poland, the Polish Border Guard said in an update on Thursday.
A total of 95,000 people entered Poland from Ukraine on Wednesday.
As of 7 a.m. local time, around 27,000 people had already crossed the border on Thursday, officials said.
— Chloe Taylor
U.S. State Department says Russia is cracking down on coverage of Ukraine invasion
The U.S. State Department said Russia is cracking down on media coverage of its invasion of Ukraine, calling it a "full assault on media freedom and truth."
In a Wednesday statement, spokesperson Ned Price said Russia is restricting social media platforms and independent news outlets in the country as part of Moscow's intensifying "efforts to mislead and suppress the truth of the brutal invasion."
The outlets were accused of "calling for extremist activity and violence" and sharing "deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel in Ukraine," according to the statement.
The department condemned Russia for "throttling" platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, saying millions of Russian rely on them for access to information.
"These partial blockages further limit where and how Russian citizens can see and share evidence of the truth of Russia's invasion of Ukraine," it said.
Still, despite Moscow's increased censorship efforts, it will be extraordinarily difficult for the Kremlin to fully block foreign media coverage, given the sheer volume of content currently available online and social media platforms.
On Friday, Russia's parliament is set to consider a bill that would make "unofficial" reporting on its invasion of Ukraine punishable by up to 15 years in prison, the statement added.
— Sumathi Bala
Russian convoy making little progress toward Kyiv, UK says
The large Russian convoy advancing on Kyiv has made little progress over the last few days, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update on Thursday.
"The main body of the large Russian column … remains over 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the center of the city, having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion," the ministry said. "The column has made little discernible progress in over three days."
The update added that despite heavy Russian shelling, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol were still in Ukrainian hands. Some forces had entered the southern city of Kherson, the defense ministry said, but "the military situation [there] remains unclear."
"The Russian defense ministry has been forced to admit that 498 Russian soldiers have already been killed and 1,597 wounded in Putin's war," the update said. "The actual number of those killed and wounded will almost certainly be considerably higher and will continue to rise."
— Chloe Taylor
Japanese men volunteer to fight for Ukraine
Japanese civilians are volunteering to fight for Ukraine in its war against Russian attackers.
Seventy men, including 50 who are veterans of Japan's Self-Defense Forces and two who previously served in the French Foreign Legion, had applied to be volunteers as of Tuesday, according to a Reuters report that cited the local Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
The Ukraine Embassy in Tokyo confirmed to Reuters that it had taken calls from Japanese "wanting to fight for Ukraine" but provided no further details.
— Ted Kemp
UN says 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since invasion
The United Nations said the number of refugees leaving Ukraine has topped 1 million in the seven days since Russia's invasion began.
"For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it's time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a tweet.
Countries around the world have opened their borders to Ukrainian refugees. The European Union has granted Ukrainians the right to stay and work for up to 3 years.
— Chelsea Ong
Russia-Ukraine conflict has a limited impact on China's food prices
Worries about a shortage of wheat and corn due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have sent futures soaring.
Although China was the largest buyer of Ukrainian corn last year, the impact on inflation is likely limited since Beijing has emphasized food security in recent years.
Less than 10% of China's domestic corn, wheat and rice consumption was imported last year, Citi analysts pointed out.
"The US-China trade disputes, the African swine fever outbreak, and the food price shock of the Covid-19 pandemic have propelled China to further improve self-reliance in food supply," the analysts said, noting a small impact to inflation from rising grain prices.
— Evelyn Cheng
Installing a pro-Moscow puppet government in Ukraine would be tough for Putin, professor says
At this point, it would be very hard for Russia to install a pro-Moscow puppet government in Ukraine, according to Chris Miller, assistant professor of international history at Tufts University.
Even if the Kremlin succeeds in taking capital city Kyiv and toppling President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, "how are they going to construct an effective government to replace him? It seems very difficult to imagine they can do so," Miller told CNBC's "Streets Signs Asia" on Thursday.
Miller said while Putin could install someone new in Zelenskyy's place, it would be extraordinarily "hard to actually keep them in power."
"One of the things that the invasion has brought forth is that almost all Ukrainians don't want to be ruled by Russia or a Russian puppet," he said.
"The last couple of Russian wars had very limited aims. They were trying to achieve limited political goals, not regime change on their border," Miller noted. "This time the goals are far grander and as a result, the resources simply aren't there."
— Sumathi Bala
Russian POWs presented to the press in Kyiv
Russian prisoners of war, officers of the police (L-R) sergeant Yevgeniy Plotnikov, lieutenant colonel Dmitriy Astakhov, and captain Yevgeniy Spiridonov as they are presented to the press in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on March 2, 2022.
Anti-war protests continue in Moscow
Russian security forces take anti-war protesters into custody in Moscow, Russia.
Ukraine's second-biggest city suffers heavy bombardment
Ukraine's second biggest city, Kharkiv, suffered heavy bombardment on Wednesday as Russia's week-long invasion was denounced by the United Nations in a historic vote and dozens of countries referred Moscow to be probed for potential war crimes.
The biggest attack on a European state since 1945 has caused over 870,000 people to flee, led to a barrage of economic measures against Russia, and stoked fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.
West of Kyiv, in the city of Zhytomyr, four people, including a child, were killed on Tuesday by a Russian cruise missile, a Ukrainian official said.
Rocket strikes on the centre of Kharkiv killed at least 10 people and wounded 35, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said. Similar strikes that killed and wounded dozens in the city the previous day involved cluster bombs, experts said.